Registration Page

Team Facts & News

In 1986, under the direction of the AAPT Executive Officer, Jack Wilson, the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) organized the United States Physics Team for the first time. — AAPT.ORG

2013 Physics Olympics Team Banner


Simply complete the short registration form on-line or, if utilizing a purchase order, you can download a PDF form, complete and send to the AAPT National Office. We encourage on-line registration. You do not need to supply the names of students who will participate at this time; only the number of students. 

Proctoring Requirements for the F=ma and Semi-final exams

Both the F=ma and Semi-final exams MUST be proctored.  Ordinarily, the proctor would be the teacher or equivalent substitute.

The requirements for the proctor are that they not be a relative, employer, fellow employee or fellow student, and that they have at least a 2 year degree, though this degree does not need to be related to physics.  Librarians would make a suitable proctor, and a candidate may take the test at a library, assuming that the librarian will be able to observe the test taking to ensure the integrity of the process.

Unfortunately, the immediate parents of a home schooled student are not acceptable proctors; in such cases, parents will need to arrange for a non-relative proctor.  This individual could be someone from within a home schooling co-op, assuming that they also meet the above criteria. 

(PLEASE NOTE: Students cannot register for the exam. A faculty member from the host site must register for students to take the exam).

2007 U.S. Physics Team working together

Fee Structure

The fee to participate is $35 ($25 for AAPT members) per school plus:

  • $4 per student - WebAssign
  • $8 per student - Downloadable PDF

(Schools will need to return Scantron sheets)

Registration & Exams

  • Registration Deadline: December 17, 2012
  • Preliminary Exam Dates: January 21 through February 1, 2013

Ordering Exam

Faculty Members have two options for how students may take the preliminary exam:

  1. Faculty can request a secured PDF version of the exam. A password protected exam and instructions will be sent to the e-mail address that you provided when you registered, this will be sent in early January. You will also receive by mail, sufficient Scantron sheets for the number of registered students. These will be mailed from the AAPT Office to arrive about one week before the testing dates.
  2. Faculty can register students to the take the exam via WebAssign. Students will need access to the Internet, but no additional software will be needed. Students can register with WebAssign prior to the exam period and take several practice exams (see below). You will be sent a password to your institution e-mail address for your students to access the exam on WebAssign during the actual exam period.

Students taking the exam by either the paper plus Scantron or WebAssign options must be monitored and all normal exam protocols must be followed. Detailed procedures that should be followed will be provided for those who register their students to take the exam.

WebAssign Practice Exams

WebAssign practice exams are open to everyone without a fee. In order to take the practice exams, see the following instructions:

  • Go to
  • Click the Log In button
  • Click "I have a Class Key"
  • Enter webassign 5013 9723 as your class key. Anyone can use this key to access the class
  • Click Yes, this is my class (Instructor will be John Risley)
  • Follow the instructions.

Students will need the following information to register for the Preliminary Exam:

Faculty Member's AAPT ID Number

  • Members - Find your 5 digit ID number on Journal Label.
  • Non-members - Go to to set up a record or join.

Pre-College Host Sites

Home School

If you are home schooled a list of CEEB codes for your region is available on The College Board's PSAT/NMSQT Codes for Home-School Students page.

Practicing & Administering the Exam

Students will be able to take three different sample tests to practice how to answer questions in WebAssign. When the exam dates are open, none of the practice exams will be available.

The student's instructor or person proctoring the exam will have the password for the "F= ma" exam and should administer the test verifying that the student took the exam. Students will get just one attempt to answer all 25 questions.

Practice Exams: Download previous years' exams


Exam Procedure for Selection of the U.S. Physics Team

There are two exams: the preliminary "F= ma" exam consisting of multiple-choice questions, and a semi-final for the top 300 to 400 students from the "F= ma" exam.

Preliminary Exam: The F=ma contest.

Multiple-choice only, focusing on mechanics; problems can be solved without the use of calculus. Exam time: 75 minutes (allow 90 minutes total to administer the exam). We strongly encourage you to have your physics students participate in this part of the contest and are certain that they will benefit from participating in an international educational forum.  NOTE: Any student may take the F=ma exam regardless of their citizenship, they may also take the semi-final exam, but they will be asked to provide their citizenship status for team selection purposes.

Semifinal Exam

The top 300 to 400 students based, on the score on the preliminary exam, will be invited to take this exam. This is a free response exam and may require the use of derivatives or simple integration. The exam covers all topics in introductory physics: Mechanics, E&M, Thermodynamics and Fluids, Relativity, Nuclear and Atomic Physics, and Waves and Optics. Part A: 4 problems, 90 minutes. Part B: 2 problems, 90 minutes. Allow 3.5 hours to administer the exam.


PLEASE NOTE: Students taking the Semifinal Exam may be invited to be a part of the US Physics Team. Students accepting invitations to be a part of the US Team must be willing and able to attend the entire training camp, May 28 - June 8, 2013. They must be able to compete internationally as representatives of the US Team. This requires that they are US citizens or hold a green card and have attended school in the US for at least three years.